BART Gets a New Chief

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 PM PDT
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BART Gets a New Chief

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Former Fairfield Police Chief Kenton Rainey started work today as  the new chief of BART's 296-member police force.

     BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger offered Rainey, 51, the job  back in mid-May, but transit agency spokesman Linton Johnson said today that  it took longer than expected for the California Department of Justice to  complete its background check of Rainey.      Rainey was police chief in Fairfield from April 2007 to September  2009 and most recently had been the commander of San Antonio's airport police  division.
     He takes over a BART Police Department that has been under  scrutiny since former officer Johannes Mehserle killed unarmed train rider  Oscar Grant III at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009, after  Mehserle and other officers responded to reports there had been a fight on a  train.
     Mehserle is currently standing trial on a murder charge stemming  from the shooting.
     Grant's family filed a $50 million civil rights lawsuit against  BART and the officers involved in the incident and many community members  believe officers were overly aggressive in responding to the situation.
     A native of Chicago, Rainey worked for the Ventura County  Sheriff's Office for 23 years before leaving as a captain in May 2002.
     He was the superintendent of patrol operations in Dayton, Ohio,  which is the department's No. 3 job, from June 2002 to April 2004 and was the  patrol operations captain in Whittier, which is that department's No. 2 job,  from April 2004 to April 2007.
     Rainey succeeds former BART Police Chief Gary Gee, who announced  his retirement last August. Gee went on medical leave in September but  returned to his post in December for a few weeks and his last day on the job  was Dec. 30.
     Former Berkeley Police Chief Daschel Butler has been serving as  interim police chief since Gee left.
     BART officials said last December that they hoped to have a new  police chief on the job by April 26 but the selection process took longer  than expected.
     Dugger said in a statement today, "I am proud to have selected  Kenton Rainey as BART's fifth police chief. Chief Rainey embodies the change  the community, the BART board and the dedicated men and women who serve on  the BART police force seek. He has a proven track record that exemplifies the  values and goals that are critical to improving BART's policing services."
     She said, "I have every confidence Chief Rainey is the right  person, with the right experience, values and commitment to lead our ongoing  efforts to usher in a new era for the BART Police Department."
     Board President James Fang said, "I believe and hope that Chief  Rainey will meet the very high standard that our riders, the public and the  BART Board have set for him and our police department."
     Director Carole Ward Allen, who heads the agency's Police  Department Review Committee, which was formed after Grant was fatally shot,  said, "Chief Rainey has the confidence of the community, his peers, and the  BART board to successfully usher in a new era of change."
     Ward Allen said, "What impresses me most about Chief Rainey is his  commitment to community. He's a man who doesn't just talk the talk, he walks  the walk - a trait which I am confident our customers will appreciate and our  officers will find inspiring as they strive to be the best they can be in the  years to come."

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